AUSTRALIA v PAKISTAN ODI Game 1
The Gabba, 13th Januray 2017
The action packed Australian summer continues as the hosts get ready to take on Pakistan in a five-match ODI series starting with the first at Brisbane on Thursday, January 13.
It promises to be an entertaining series between a confident hosts and an unpredictable visitor. Australia will surely want to continue their successful summer while Pakistan are desperate to redeem some pride.
Up…up…and up…for the Aussies
The World Champions had a nightmare series in South Africa where they were whitewashed but that result now looks a thing of distant past. The Kangaroos bounced back to drub the Kiwis 3-0 and should be confident ahead of this series.
Batting looks in safe hands with David Warner and Steve Smith showing no signs of abating their thirst for runs – across formats. With Usman Khawaja also in the mix and Chris Lynn rewarded for his Big Bash exploits, the hosts have a threatening lineup.
Take nothing away from their bowling lineup either with Mitchell Starc and Adam Zampa leading the charge. Pat Cummins is ready to make a comeback while Billy Stanlake is a surprise pick.
Can the changes revive Pakistan?
The season looked long and frustrating for the visitors who literally had nothing to showcase in the Test series. Thankfully, this ODI outfit has enough changes to devoid them of any scars from those defeats.
Azhar Ali takes over as skipper and would be under pressure to improve the results. Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik add experience to the middle order but it is the runs from Babar Azam that could be vital.
Mohammad Amir and Wahab Riaz will look for improved fortunes with the white ball while Hasan Ali could prove to be the surprise pick. The absence of Irfan opened the doors for Junaid’s recall but may not get to play in the first match.
Hazlewood is rested for the first match which means a debut for Stanlake on the cards. It could be a tossup between Mitchell Marsh and Glenn Maxwell with the former’s bowling giving him an edge.
Sarfraz Ahmed’s absence throws an opportunity for reserve keeper Mohammad Rizwan while Imad Wasim impressed in the tour match to warrant selection. Mohammad Hafeez has joined the tour party but may not get to start at Brisbane.
There’s so much riding on an Aussie win – especially after their convincing performance in the Test matches. No wonder then that the hosts are favored at a general 1.25 for a win. Of slightly better value is a punt on Australia scoring highest first 15 overs’ score than Pakistan – odds of 1.5 (Ladbrokes).
Warner’s recent form makes him a solid bet to top the run scoring charts for the Kangaroos. At odds of 3.75 (William Hill), the Aussie vice-captain looks a good pick. Babar may have struggled in the Test matches but had a great ODI season in 2016 and should be eager to put runs on the board for Pakistan. Odds of 6.0 (Ladbrokes) are being offered on him being their top scorer.